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How to Make a School Mascot 



i 



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build, hack, tweak, share, discover, J 



How to Make a School Mascot 



Written By: David 



f TOOLS: 



Scissors (1) 

Sewing needle (1) 

Utility knife (1) 
or craft knife 



© PARTS: 



Cooling fan (1) 
aka "muffin fan" 

Screen material (1) 

Speaker covers (1) 

Fake fur (1) 

Upholstry foam (1) 

Vinyl (1) 

Spray glue (1) 

made for joining rubber foam 

Cross-stitch thread (1) 



SUMMARY 

This guide will show, step by step, the basic procedure for building a lightweight foam and 
fur mascot head. 



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How to Make a School Mascot 







Begin by cutting and stacking squares of upholstery foam until the desired width and height 
is reached. Using a marker, lightly sketch out the design you wish to carve. Do this to the 
sides as well. 

Next, begin hollowing out the center space, starting from the bottom and working upwards 
layer by layer. Be sure to continually try the pieces on as you go to achieve the desired 
space inside. 

Continue to enlarge the interior space, matching the pieces to one another as you go 
along. 







• Continue to try the head on as you go to ensure a good size and fit. Don't leave it on too 
long or you will invariably pass out. :) 

• Begin carving away foam until the desired shape begins to emerge. It will take time to get 
it where you want it. Enjoy the process and relax -- it will turn out fine. (At first, mine 
looked more like a large dingo than a cougar.) 

• Keep trying it on and asking others' opinions. Besides, it's FUN walking around blind with a 
giant block of foam on your head! 



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How to Make a School Mascot 







As you carve, continue to sketch out the design and keep going. At this stage, it started 
looking more like the Flintstones' saber-toothed cat than a cougar. (I tested out the idea of 
fangs but decided not to use them.) 

Since my school has lots of little ones in it, I decided that our cougar needed to be more of 
a kitty than a killer. Eventually, you will be satisfied with the look. It just takes time. 

Note the shape at the bottom of the head where it rests on the shoulders. The head will be 
naturally top-heavy so you will want to compensate by keeping it as low on the body as 
possible. 



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How to Make a School Mascot 




VENTILATION IS KEY!! You will still sweat if you end up wearing it but any little bit helps. I 
went to my local surplus store and bought a 9-volt "muffin fan" and battery pack for two 
dollars. Install this in the head to vent warm air out. 

I also bought these nifty little speaker covers for 50 cents apiece. These make excellent 
eyes and a mouth vent. 




Slice out an air vent channel in the mouth. Good for breathing and air intake to the head. 

Insert the vent into the mouth area. Create the proper space for it and glue it with 
plumber's "goop" or some other rubber-based glue or epoxy. 



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How to Make a School Mascot 




Decide where the eyes should be and carve them out a little bit smaller than the vent 



covers. 



• Create an inset space for them and then glue them in solidly. 

• CAUTION!!! Be sure to test the eyes out before gluing them in. Be certain you can see 
relatively well first. 







Insert the fan in the same way. Create a space for it with a lip to hold it. Extend the vent 
hole down into the top of the head. 

Create a space for the battery pack. DO NOT GLUE IT IN. Leave it loose so you can 
remove it to insert batteries. 

When applying fur, cover the battery space then slit a hole in the covering to remove and 
insert the battery. 



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How to Make a School Mascot 





• Put a piece of window screen over 
the fan vent and glue around it 
liberally. Be careful to NOT get 
glue on the fan or it will seize up. 

• I used "Pet Screen" that I found at 
the hardware store. It is solid and 
thick. Just right. You may choose 
to paint it the same color as the fur 
-- it's up to you. 



Step 9 





Once you have everything glued in place and you are happy with the interior space and 
ventilation, you can start gluing the layers together. 

Use an industrial strength spray adhesive that is made for rubber-based foam. I bought it 
at the local fabric store. Just tell them what you're gluing and say you want the best. 

After all the pieces are together and dried, you can do any final shaping and carving you 
want. This is your last chance to get things right before adding the fur. 



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How to Make a School Mascot 



Step 10 





This is when your mascot COMES ALIVE!!! 

Time for a nose! I used black vinyl that I found at the fabric store. Use plumber's "goop" 
and glue it down well. The nose will get LOTS of kisses and squeezes! Make sure it stays 
on good. 

Begin gluing on the fur using the foam spray adhesive. Begin laying on the smaller areas 
then lay on the larger ones. 

NOTE!!! Put some kind of masking tape over the vents so they do not get glue spray on 
them. 

Do this in a well-ventilated area or you will get brain damage and likely hallucinate! Then 
who knows what it will come out looking like? XD 



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How to Make a School Mascot 



Step 11 




Continue adding fur. Try to put any seams you have near folds in the shape or at the back. 

With such a large area to work with it is likely you will need at least two large seams at the 
back corners. Glue them down well using LOTS of spray glue. 

Making the ears (optional) is essentially the same process. Mold or carve the shape you 
want, continually checking to see how it looks. Once you have the proper shape, apply the 
fur and wait for it to dry. 

Finally (and I apologize for not including photos), use a large curved upholstery needle to 
sew the ears onto the head. (NO GLUE REQUIRED.) 

Be sure to use thick thread to sew them on. The thread will be difficult to sew and will 
require pulling it very tight. I used cross-stitch thread. It worked very well. (Expect to get 
blisters.) 



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How to Make a School Mascot 



Step 12 









Create a body suit and paws (using store-bought patterns) to match. 

Naked school mascots are disturbing (in my mind at least). I went to Walmart and bought 
the cheapest shirt and gym shorts I could find (XXXL works best). You could also use 
school logo sportswear but be sure to buy the biggest possible. The fur suit (and the 
wearer) usually make it a pretty big animal -- XXXL is most comfortable and gives the 
wearer room to move. 

Unveil your new mascot and get ready for LOTS of hugs and high fives (high fours in this 
case). 

Have fun!!! 



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How to Make a School Mascot 




• Here are some additional tips from a former mascot (Towson State University Tiger, 1987- 
88) 

• Absolutely include the cooling fan, or you will learn, as I did, that a fur and foam suit can 
send you very rapidly toward heatstroke even in an air-conditioned basketball arena (my 
university-issued Tiger suit lacked this feature). 

• You can put the view ports someplace besides the eyes if you want the mascot to be 
taller. The Tiger costume had white screens on the whisker pads instead of the eyes, 
which also provided some peripheral vision. However, I had a dead-center blind spot 
where the nose was. I worked around that by swaggering side-to-side whenever I walked, 
which people kind of expect a mascot to do anyway. 

• For more bulk, you can add football or lacrosse pads under the suit. The Tiger costume 
also had big foam paws to cover my shoes, but I don't recommend that, as it limits your 
mobility. 

• If you're a guy, wear a cup. Seriously. To the preschool demographic, you're a giant 
stuffed animal. They'll charge straight into you for a hug, slamming their foreheads you- 
know-where. A buddy of mine was the Baltimore Oriole the same year I was the Tiger, and 
he got a very painful injury that way. I learned from his experience and donned the armor. 

• You can add a tail to the suit, but be sure you have some wire in it as a stiffener so it 
doesn't drag on the floor. Otherwise, you'll always be tripping on it. 

• Wash the suit (and pads, if using) after every wearing. You will sweat profusely into it 
every time, and it will reek if you don't clean it. 

• Have fun. A mascot suit is a license to make a complete &# A of yourself in front of ten 
thousand people, with almost no accountability. I certainly took full advantage of that, and 
you should, too. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 0-31 04:33:09 AM. 



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